Changing your furnace filter regularly isn’t a suggestion. You have to replace it at the right intervals to keep your furnace running safely and reliably. Not sure what filter your system uses or how often to replace it? Ask the Seider Heating, Plumbing & Electrical pros by calling 262-436-0505 or ask our experts online. Then keep reading to find out everything you should know about this important home comfort accessory.
What Does a Furnace Filter Actually Do?
Some homeowners believe their furnace filter’s purpose is to improve indoor air quality. And while it does to a certain degree, furnace filters are actually designed to protect your blower fan. The filter has multiple layers to trap pollutants of all sizes before they enter your airstream or fan. Without an effective filter, your furnace fan can become bogged down with gunk, dust, and other impurities. This slows efficiency, lowers heating power, and often leads to breakdowns and early system failure.
How Do I Find the Right Furnace Filter?
Your furnace manual will list which filter size your system needs, or you can check the existing filter for dimensions. Most filters are labeled with the size right on the cardboard frame. Once you know what size you need, select a filter type. There are a lot of different filter options available, but the most common are disposable filters that are replaced every few months.
Check your system manual to determine which filter type and minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating is recommended. MERV ratings span from 1 to 16 and represent how effective the filter is at removing airborne particles, like pollen, dust mites, lint, and debris. An ideal MERV rating will remove the maximum number of contaminants without affecting airflow. If you pick a rating that’s too high, your system will have to work harder to keep up and likely experience frequent breakdowns and/or early failure.
How Do I Replace My Furnace Filter?
Your home comfort provider will likely replace your furnace filter during your annual Clean & Check. But if you prefer a DIY approach, you can certainly replace it yourself following these steps:
- Purchase a new filter and ensure it’s the correct size and type—if you aren’t sure which to get, ask a professional.
- Turn off your furnace and locate the existing filter (inside the furnace or the return air vent). Carefully remove the old filter (to avoid knocking any particles loose) and note which way the filter’s arrow points to ensure you place the new one in the same direction. If it’s been a while since you last replaced it, you may want to vacuum in and around the filter housing.
- Look for an arrow on your new filter which indicates the direction it should be inserted. Then slide the new filter into place and put the cover back. Turn your furnace on and pay attention to airflow to see if you notice any difference.
EXPERT TIP: Write the date of replacement on your new filter so you know when to replace it next.
It’s Time to Schedule Furnace Maintenance
It’s that time of year when we’re all gearing up to run our furnaces for the season. In addition to replacing your filter, you should also schedule an annual Clean & Check to ensure your furnace is in tip-top shape. Our knowledgeable pros will inspect, clean, test, and adjust all working parts to guarantee safety this season, whether you have a Carrier® system or any other brand—call or schedule an appointment online today.